Major General Harold Greene is the highest-ranking US military official killed yet in the Afghan and Iraq wars. He was shot by a man dressed in an Afghan national guard uniform who opened fire on NATO troops near Kabul. The shooter was killed in the attack and no further information on the shooter is yet available. Fifteen others were wounded including Americans and coalition members from other countries including a German brigadier general. This will always be a threat that an invading force faces. Such “green on blue” or “insider” attacks against coalition troops by people dressed as Afghan security forces were at a peak in 2012 with 53 NATO servicemen killed. In 2013, there were 16 deaths from 10 separate attacks. A year prior, 53 coalition troops were killed in 38 such attacks.

Of the 2012 green-on-blue killings the investigation by the Karzai government had concluded that the main culprits in the killings had been put in place by intelligence services from neighbouring countries, though Pakistan or Iran were not directly accused. The animosity towards the Americans is well documented here in Pakistan and Afghanistan and this attack does not come as a surprise. According to NATO assessments, only about 1 in 10 of the insider killings are directly linked to infiltration by Taliban insurgents or soldiers or police officers won over to the Taliban cause. The rest of these attacks are due to stress, cultural clashes, and general societal level of animosity towards the American and coalition forces or even personal disputes.

There is the risk that since 2012, NATO has been downplaying how unstable the situation still is with the training and recruitment for Afghan forces. The desire to pull out of Afghanistan by the US has created a fictitious narrative of relative security and peace in Afghanistan. The Afghan government is also portraying a false image of safety and self-reliance and everything is blamed on Pakistan, including the recent assassination attempt on the presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah. If Iraq’s military can’t defend against ISIS, who in their right mind thinks these greens can hold off the Taliban? This a clear sign of the erosion of trust between international troops and their Afghan partners and the withdrawal of US forces will be the start of a new kind of chaos in the region that Pakistan would rather do without. We already have India becoming increasingly aggressive and a major military offensive ongoing. Rather than play the blame game and make Pakistan out to be the source of all things bad happening to Afghanistan on the terrorism front, they need to join hands with Pakistan. Once troops withdraw they will need everything they have got to contain their budding militant insurgencies.